Author Topic: Bruckner's Abbey  (Read 452967 times)

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Lilas Pastia

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #520 on: December 30, 2007, 01:12:29 PM »
Listened to this week: a 2007 Berlin Classics release of 1990 performances: the E minor mass (that's no. 2) and the Te Deum. Heinz Rögner conducts the RSO, Berlin.  This is my first ever Mass no. 2 . For some reason I had managed to miss it on numerous occasions, but here it is, and a splendid interpretation is obviously encased here. Beautiful singing from the choir and transparent recording. The harmonie doesn't attempt to upstage the singers. They support them throughout in a most euphonious way. Brass in particular have a stained glass mellowness to them.

The Te Deum is probably Bruckner's most famous choral work. This performance is fervent and powerful, but also very attentive to the more reflective portions of the score. There is a real sense of the church here, as opposed to the concert platform. Soloists blend very well (a very difficult balance to achieve in the In Te domine speravi section). Rögner doesn't let the timpani rage as they did across Berlin in the thrilling 1975 Karajan recording ( I didn't hear the Vienna ones).

This is an excellent coupling, offering two of Bruckner's most important works in excellent sound and performances, at budget price.

Lilas Pastia

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #521 on: January 01, 2008, 05:18:38 PM »
John Berky's website offers monthly Bruckner downloads. For January he has a rare offering: the 1982 Tintner performance of the 8th symphony (original version). The downloads includes a half hour lecture by Tintner to the orchestra.

This predates his commercial Naxos disc by some 15 years, and as can be expected, tempi are swifter: 5 minutes shorter, all in movements I, II and IV. Which is not a bad thing as already in 1982 they were on the broad side. By 1997 he had adopted a positively ruminative approach. It paid some dividends, but there's no denying that much was asked of the listener.



Happy free listening!  :D


Offline Maciek

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #522 on: January 03, 2008, 11:24:59 AM »
André, I was wondering if you've listened to the Wislocki 4th yet? I'd be very curious to hear your thoughts.

(And happy new year! 8))

Lilas Pastia

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #523 on: January 03, 2008, 09:14:49 PM »
And Happy New Year to you too!  :D

I did listen to the Wislocki 4th a few months ago - but truth to telll, I didn't find it better than average. Please don't ask me for more: that was a one shot deal, so I'd have to give it more airing time. I do recall finding the strings to be somewhat meager-sounding, but it could be just a matter of control setting (Bruckner willl not settle for anything less than full blast ;D).  I'll eventually get back to it in due time.

Speaking of Polish conductors, I've found Skowaczewski's readings more reliable and interesting than those of the other super budget versions by Tintner. Strange as it may seem, I still hold Skrowaczewski as the best interpreter of the Chopin PC 1. This has been dismissed as unoriginal and unchallenging stuff, but after hearing dozens of versions, it still holds the prize for best ever - and that's not even counting Rubinstein's peerless solo work 0:).


Gustav

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #524 on: January 03, 2008, 09:23:14 PM »
And Happy New Year to you too!  :D

I did listen to the Wislocki 4th a few months ago - but truth to telll, I didn't find it better than average. Please don't ask me for more: that was a one shot deal, so I'd have to give it more airing time. I do recall finding the strings to be somewhat meager-sounding, but it could be just a matter of control setting (Bruckner willl not settle for anything less than full blast ;D).  I'll eventually get back to it in due time.

Speaking of Polish conductors, I've found Skowaczewski's readings more reliable and interesting than those of the other super budget versions by Tintner. Strange as it may seem, I still hold Skrowaczewski as the best interpreter of the Chopin PC 1. This has been dismissed as unoriginal and unchallenging stuff, but after hearing dozens of versions, it still holds the prize for best ever - and that's not even counting Rubinstein's peerless solo work 0:).



what do you think about Kempe's 4th with MP (the 1972 one) and Barenboim's 4th with CSO?
(not that i am recommending these two recordings, i just wand your honest opinion, if you have heard of them)

Lilas Pastia

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #525 on: January 03, 2008, 09:29:34 PM »
what do you think about Kempe's 4th with MP (the 1972 one) and Barenboim's 4th with CSO?
(not that i am recommending these two recordings, i just wand your honest opinion, if you have heard of them)


I didn't hear the Kempe. But the CSO Barenboim has been a sentimental favourite for decades. The reason I still hold it dear to my heart is the unending bliss I experience from the CSO's brass in this particular recording (I've heard them all, and only the 9th is of interest to me). This is one instance where Barenboim just let things unfold and let the orchestra speak its own idiom.

Regarding Kempe's Bruckner (4, 5 and 8), my good friend and Bruckner guru Choochoo highly recommends them. Someday I'll get them for sure, they've been on my wish list for quite a while now.

Offline Sydney Grew

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #526 on: January 03, 2008, 10:44:57 PM »
If your library has it available, I would recommend the "Essence of Bruckner" book by Robert Simpson. It is considered definitive enough to probably be available from any library in any English-speaking country (although I am unsure whether in a country as large as the US or Canada, they can get books from other libraries for you like in the UK). Some CD booklet notes are very useful. The Solti/Decca cycle, for example, while not being particularly recommendable on musical terms (I bought it cheaply, fully aware of this) has a good overview of his style and use of architecture in his works - I presume the Harnoncourt booklet is less useful?
. . . .
The 9th in its three movement state is emotionally very deceptive, as Bruckner intended the 9th to end with a 4th movement which would re-balance the symphony, which in its first 3 movements could seem extremely dark. In its current state, the adagio ends with a swelling dissonant climax which falters into a whisper, followed by a devastating silence, making the work appear enormously tragic. But his intention must've been to counter this with a far more upbeat introduction to the final movement (as-per his usual format) before moving into his planned grand summary of his work, including a large fugue.

We thank the Member for all the valuable information in his message. We are particularly struck by his reference to the projected finale to the Ninth Symphony. According to Cooke and Nowak in Grove, there exist "some two hundred pages of sketches" for this movement, upon which the composer was working up to and including the day of his death on the eleventh of October 1896.

What we would now like to ask is, has any one seen these sketches - in either the published or unpublished forms? The sketch material bears the WAB [Werkverzeichnis Anton Bruckners] number 143, and volume nine of the Sämtliche Werke (edited by Orel in 1934) is said to reproduce at least some part thereof. But in what form, and where is the original material kept? We (who admire Bruckner's music greatly) are in fact suddenly tempted to have a go at writing a suitably grand fugal finale ourselves - merely for our own amusement of course, at least initially.
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Gustav

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #527 on: January 03, 2008, 11:26:53 PM »
We thank the Member for all the valuable information in his message. We are particularly struck by his reference to the projected finale to the Ninth Symphony. According to Cooke and Nowak in Grove, there exist "some two hundred pages of sketches" for this movement, upon which the composer was working up to and including the day of his death on the eleventh of October 1896.

What we would now like to ask is, has any one seen these sketches - in either the published or unpublished forms? The sketch material bears the WAB [Werkverzeichnis Anton Bruckners] number 143, and volume nine of the Sämtliche Werke (edited by Orel in 1934) is said to reproduce at least some part thereof. But in what form, and where is the original material kept? We (who admire Bruckner's music greatly) are in fact suddenly tempted to have a go at writing a suitably grand fugal finale ourselves - merely for our own amusement of course, at least initially.


yes, in fact many scholars have seen it (in its unfinished form) and tried to complete it. Here is the wiki entry on the topic:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_No._9_%28Bruckner%29

and I also believe someone has also wrote "a suitably grand fugal finale" for his "own amusement of course" already. His name is Peter Jan Marthe.

Offline Maciek

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #528 on: January 04, 2008, 02:25:02 AM »
I did listen to the Wislocki 4th a few months ago - but truth to telll, I didn't find it better than average. Please don't ask me for more: that was a one shot deal, so I'd have to give it more airing time. I do recall finding the strings to be somewhat meager-sounding, but it could be just a matter of control setting (Bruckner willl not settle for anything less than full blast ;D).  I'll eventually get back to it in due time.

Hey, no problem. I have no special affinity towards Wislocki, never counted him among the best Polish conductors. Just wanted to hear an informed opinion. This recording was released in the Polish Radio series "Famous Polish Conductors" (along with Haydn's Sanctae Caeciliae Mass and Beethoven's Egmont) and the inclusion of the Bruckner surprised me a bit - I guess the reason they did include it is that it is one of the very few Polish Bruckner recordings in existence. Apart from Skrowaczewski (and Wislocki), I don't think any Polish conductor ever recorded any Bruckner (perhaps also Wit nowadays? I'm not sure). I remember that at the end of his life Czyz regretted never having tackled Bruckner (that and not having done enough jazz music ;D)...

Offline jwinter

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #529 on: January 04, 2008, 06:53:42 AM »
What we would now like to ask is, has any one seen these sketches - in either the published or unpublished forms?


If you're curious, here's a fairly cheap way to check out the projected finale:



It's fleshed out from Bruckner's sketches, obviously, but from what I can tell from the liner notes there was a considerable amount of material to work from, and they seem to have taken great care with it.  The finale is the only reason I'd draw this CD to your attention, though -- overall this is a decent but not great 9th; it's a bit slow (which isn't necessarily a problem) but it also lacks drive and excitement IMO.  It all just feels a bit slack.
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils.
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus.
Let no such man be trusted.

-- William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #530 on: January 04, 2008, 08:29:14 AM »



It's fleshed out from Bruckner's sketches, obviously, but from what I can tell from the liner notes there was a considerable amount of material to work from, and they seem to have taken great care with it.

Despite the advocacy of people like Harnoncourt, and after reading a whole book devoted to the unfinished Finale (Heinz-Klaus Metzger, Rainer Riehn: Bruckners Neunte im Fegefeuer der Rezeption, 2003, text + kritk, München), I still miss Bruckner's spirit in the performing versions that are now available. The music doesn't take flight. You hear all the well-known Brucknerian noises, but they don't have that 'lift'.

(And I am convinced by Mahler's Tenth, by the way.)
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline MishaK

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #531 on: January 04, 2008, 09:09:33 AM »
Despite the advocacy of people like Harnoncourt, and after reading a whole book devoted to the unfinished Finale (Heinz-Klaus Metzger, Rainer Riehn: Bruckners Neunte im Fegefeuer der Rezeption, 2003, text + kritk, München), I still miss Bruckner's spirit in the performing versions that are now available. The music doesn't take flight. You hear all the well-known Brucknerian noises, but they don't have that 'lift'.

Query, though, how much of that is due to conductors' and orchestras' unfamiliarity with the final movement. E.g. in the Harnoncourt recording, the VPO's playing of the first three movements is leagues better than their tentative baby steps in the excerpts of the finale. The Wildner has the most recent completion and is to my ears the most compelling realization of the finale. As more original excerpts are discovered and as the completion is further fine tuned and as more orchestras and conductors become familiar with the work, hopefully we will get to hear more convincing performances as well.

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #532 on: January 04, 2008, 09:28:01 AM »
Query, though, how much of that is due to conductors' and orchestras' unfamiliarity with the final movement. E.g. in the Harnoncourt recording, the VPO's playing of the first three movements is leagues better than their tentative baby steps in the excerpts of the finale. The Wildner has the most recent completion and is to my ears the most compelling realization of the finale. As more original excerpts are discovered and as the completion is further fine tuned and as more orchestras and conductors become familiar with the work, hopefully we will get to hear more convincing performances as well.

I know exactly what you mean. You sometimes have to listen through a performance to get a sense of the real power of the music. But for me that's not the case here, I'm afraid - I think the musical ideas in the Finale aren't, for whatever reason, among Bruckner's most inspired. I wanted to like the Finale so badly, I love Bruckner. But I feel I'm only getting a glimpse of what could have been. Even with a weak Bruckner performance, you feel that there is more than orchestra and conductor can give you. Not so here. I don't think even the best Bruckner conductor could make the Finale an overwhelming experience. (Whereas Mahler's Tenth never fails to move me.)
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline MishaK

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #533 on: January 04, 2008, 10:04:40 AM »
I know exactly what you mean. You sometimes have to listen through a performance to get a sense of the real power of the music. But for me that's not the case here, I'm afraid - I think the musical ideas in the Finale aren't, for whatever reason, among Bruckner's most inspired. I wanted to like the Finale so badly, I love Bruckner. But I feel I'm only getting a glimpse of what could have been. Even with a weak Bruckner performance, you feel that there is more than orchestra and conductor can give you. Not so here. I don't think even the best Bruckner conductor could make the Finale an overwhelming experience. (Whereas Mahler's Tenth never fails to move me.)

I don't know about that. Have you actually heard the Wildner? The Harnoncourt certainly feels like an aimless sightreading exercise. The Wildner is considerably better. (Talmi can be binned since the completion miscorrects some of Bruckner's original writing.) I do like at least the original parts of the piece. The beginning of the finale, in particular, I think is marvellous. I had often wondered what Bruckner could possibly say next after that sublime Adagio has melted away into the ether. But the way he starts the finale out of that same nothingness into which the Adagio disappeared is brilliant, IMHO.

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #534 on: January 04, 2008, 10:16:38 AM »
I don't know about that. Have you actually heard the Wildner? The Harnoncourt certainly feels like an aimless sightreading exercise. The Wildner is considerably better. (Talmi can be binned since the completion miscorrects some of Bruckner's original writing.) I do like at least the original parts of the piece. The beginning of the finale, in particular, I think is marvellous. I had often wondered what Bruckner could possibly say next after that sublime Adagio has melted away into the ether. But the way he starts the finale out of that same nothingness into which the Adagio disappeared is brilliant, IMHO.

I have the Wildner and the Harnoncourt...

I promise you to give the Wildner another spin tomorrow. And then I'll report back.
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Gustav

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #535 on: January 04, 2008, 10:46:15 AM »
Query, though, how much of that is due to conductors' and orchestras' unfamiliarity with the final movement. E.g. in the Harnoncourt recording, the VPO's playing of the first three movements is leagues better than their tentative baby steps in the excerpts of the finale. The Wildner has the most recent completion and is to my ears the most compelling realization of the finale. As more original excerpts are discovered and as the completion is further fine tuned and as more orchestras and conductors become familiar with the work, hopefully we will get to hear more convincing performances as well.

Actually, the recordings that used the most recent completion are Marcus Bosch's 9th with Aachen and Daniel Harding with Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Offline MishaK

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #536 on: January 04, 2008, 10:50:56 AM »
Actually, the recordings that used the most recent completion are Marcus Bosch's 9th with Aachen and Daniel Harding with Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Didn't know those existed! Where might one find these? My mom played as a sub in the first violins in the Bosch/Aachen performance.

Gustav

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #537 on: January 04, 2008, 10:57:32 AM »
Didn't know those existed! Where might one find these? My mom played as a sub in the first violins in the Bosch/Aachen performance.

It's quite easy to find Bosch's performance, you can buy it from jpc. If you are in america, it hasn't been released yet, but it will be soon. Just a few weeks ago, Berky offered one on his website, but now it's gone.

Offline MishaK

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #538 on: January 04, 2008, 11:00:07 AM »
It's quite easy to find Bosch's performance, you can buy it from jpc. If you are in america, it hasn't been released yet, but it will be soon. Just a few weeks ago, Berky offered one on his website, but now it's gone.

Thanks. Found it. Have you heard either one of the two? How does Bosch compare to Harding?

EDIT: just listened to the clips on jpc. Bosch's Scherzo and Finale sound good, but why such a rushed Adagio?
« Last Edit: January 04, 2008, 11:09:10 AM by O Mensch »

Gustav

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #539 on: January 04, 2008, 11:18:37 AM »
Thanks. Found it. Have you heard either one of the two? How does Bosch compare to Harding?

I don't know, I have heard both of them. But the one i heard from Harding came from an Radio Broadcast, so I am not sure it's the same as the one released on CD, but just in case you want to hear that performance too, it's on Youtube.
http://youtube.com/results?search_query=bruckner+harding&search=Search

The sound in Bosch is sometimes a little too reverberant for me, I don't know where they record it (in a church maybe?). The sound quality is not bad, but it's not ideal either. Sometimes, the violins are not as transparent as they should be, but the first 3 movements are still very good overall. As for the finale, (the sole reason to acquire this disc), since it has absolute monopoly, being the ONLY WIDELY released recording of this version (good luck on finding the harding one!). It is very nice, first of all, it is done swiftly at only 20 minutes, which is even 3 minutes faster than Wildner's and a whole 10 minutes shorter than the Eichhorn one! Secondly, having never heard anything from this orchestra, i was quite surprised at their level of playing, it's quite good, and very nice brass.